Fluoride is a naturally-occurring mineral that can help prevent tooth decay by strengthening tooth enamel. Most water has trace amounts of fluoride, but not enough to prevent tooth decay, which is why some counties add fluoride to their drinking water.
However, not every county or area has access to water with fluoride, which is why it’s important to be sure you’re getting enough of this mineral to protect your smile.
The foods and drinks we consume can affect our tooth enamel, leading to an increased risk for cavities. But when you get enough fluoride, tooth enamel becomes more resistant to tooth decay. In fact, fluoride may even help reverse tooth decay in its early stages.
Let’s talk more about the importance of fluoride for your oral health as well as how you can know if you’re getting enough!
What Happens If You Don’t Get Enough Fluoride?
Lack of fluoride in your diet can lead to soft or weak tooth enamel, making your teeth more prone to cavities and sensitivity. Damaged tooth enamel can even cause dentin—the softer layer beneath your tooth enamel—to show through, which can give your teeth a more yellow appearance.
Some people may even experience weak bones or frequent bone fractures if there’s not enough fluoride in the body. Since fluoride prevents mineral loss in tooth enamel and can even help restore lost minerals, getting enough is essential.
The most common sign that you’re not getting enough fluoride is tooth decay. During your appointment, your dentist can spot the early signs of tooth decay, which could mean you’re not getting enough fluoride!
How to Ensure You’re Getting the Proper Amount
The first step in finding out if you’re getting the proper amount of fluoride—besides talking to your dentist—is determining if your drinking water is fluoridated (contains added fluoride). If your water is fluoridated and you drink tap water, it’s generally safe to assume you’re getting enough fluoride.
If your water isn’t fluoridated, you can have your water tested to see how much fluoride you could be getting from your tap water. However, most people that lack fluoridated water aren’t getting enough fluoride to effectively prevent tooth decay. So how can you ensure proper fluoride use for your smile?
- Use toothpaste that contains fluoride. If you have sensitive teeth, your dentist may recommend a prescription fluoride toothpaste to help reduce your sensitivity and protect your tooth enamel.
- Know your risk. If you have chronic dry mouth or a history of tooth decay or gum disease, it’s imperative that you get enough fluoride as you’re more at risk for oral health problems.
- Talk to your dentist. Your dentist can ask the right questions to determine if you and your family are exposed to enough fluoride to protect your teeth, and evaluate your smile too!
Have Questions About Fluoride? Contact Us!
If you have questions about your fluoride exposure for dental health, don’t hesitate to contact us at Leesburg Family & Cosmetic Dentistry. We can comprehensively evaluate your smile to determine if you could benefit from more fluoride and help assess your risk for oral health problems. Call us at (703) 831-3952, or request an appointment through our contact form!